The certain trick suddenly disappears
Douglas Adams, in “The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy,” wrote, “There is a theory which states that if ever anybody discovers exactly what the Universe is for and why it is here, it will instantly disappear and be replaced by something even more bizarre and inexplicable. There is another theory which states that this has already happened.”
At the bridge table, sometimes you think you have sure winners, only to watch them disappear. In today’s deal, the declarer was Harry Harkavy, one of the most talented players ever, who died on his 50th birthday from pancreatitis in 1965.
Over West’s weak two-bid, North made a debatable takeout double given his doubleton club, but bridge is a bidder’s game. When Harkavy (South) advanced with three hearts, East happily doubled, expecting a pleasant windfall. It did not work out like that.
After West led the spade king, the play started: spade ace, diamond ace, diamond ruff, club king, club ace, club ruff, diamond ruff and club ruff — eight tricks in. South, with three trumps left in his hand, led a diamond from the board to promote his heart 10 to make his contract.
Did you notice that if East had had only four hearts, and West could have led the suit, the contract would have gone down three? East had too many trumps!
The late Richard Freeman said, “I never saw Harry Harkavy make a mistake. I remember the time everyone in the North-south field was playing one no-trump and making either 90 or 120. But Harry made plus 600. What’s so unusual about that? Harold was sitting East-west.”